Deepak Arora, 69, describes his investment in a four-bedroom flat at the Orion complex in Thane as a small contribution to society and the environment.
That’s because when the Aroras start using this luxury home as a weekend getaway in a few years, solar panels placed on the terrace will heat their water and recycled sewage water will be used to wash their cars and water their garden.
“Adopting these measures is not just environment friendly but will also bring down my power and water bills,” said Arora, a businessman. “Saving energy and water can help channelise these resources to those who are deprived of them.”
Presently under construction, Orion is an eco-friendly residential building. Many such green projects, which use recycled and non-toxic building materials, energy efficient equipment as well as renewable energy, will dot the city’s skyline in the coming five to seven years.
In the last four years, the number of such environment-friendly residential projects in Mumbai has risen almost six times. According to data compiled by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the number of registered residential eco-friendly projects increased from 11 in 2008 to 64 this year with a total green home footprint of 47.5 million sq ft.
In fact, the period between 2009 and 2010 witnessed a significant jump in developers registering to invest in green residential projects. In just one year, the numbers rose from 15 to 50.
Across the country too, the number of registered green home projects has risen from 42 in 2008 to 272 in 2011. “Eco-friendly homes are financially attractive. With 80% of India yet to be built up, the next two decades would present a great opportunity for the country to pursue the path of green buildings,” said S Raghupathy, senior director and head, CII-IGBC.
With 40% greenhouse gas emissions attributed to buildings, environmentalists said that increase in the number of green buildings is not a fad. “Conventional buildings contribute a lot towards emissions especially through energy consumption. Green buildings help reduce carbon footprint through use of renewable energy,” said Namrata Mahan, research associate, The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), adding, “Green buildings are definitely here to stay. They must be made mandatory.”
Mahan added that some urban local bodies such as the Pune Municipal Corporation have directed that all new constructions meet the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment keeping Indian environment conditions in mind.
While the cost of building a green home is 5% to 8% more than a non-green home, developers said that the extra cost burden is not transferred to the customer. “In the long run, energy and other costs come down, yielding a lower total cost of ownership. Thus, while the developer bears the higher capital cost, the resident reaps the benefits of energy savings as well as carbon credits of the green building,” said Vikas Kasliwal, vice-chairman of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd. Kasliwal is constructing Palais Royale at Worli, the country’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rated green residential building.